From Seeds of Success by www.Success.com comes a nice piece on how we can better ourselves:
One way to improve yourself is to learn from someone who already is living an extraordinary life. Here, one of the nation's greatest leaders, Colin Powell, offers his insights into how to lead an exemplary life:
"I do try to inspire," and inspiring goes beyond motivating. People must feel that their efforts matter.
Don't be afraid
"We all make mistakes. What you do with a failure is study it and see what you did wrong, what you did to fail in the situation. Once you've analyzed it and learned from it, roll that mistake up and throw it over your shoulder [and move on]."
Colin Powell demanded honesty from his subordinates and encouraged their opinions whether they agreed or dissented, according to Soldier, Karen DeYoung's biography. But when the decision was made, he expected his team members to embrace it as if it had been their own.
"I try to be empathetic, trying to see the other person's point of view. In the military, I tried to understand soldiers. In diplomatic life, when I was trying to work on a problem with a foreign minister, I would try to see what he wanted, not just what I wanted. I tried to see what we both would need" to make progress to benefit both sides.
Go with your gut. "We do not have the luxury of collecting information indefinitely. At some point, before we can have every possible fact in hand, we have to decide," Powell writes, saying that he goes with his gut feeling when he has acquired 40 to 70 percent of the information about a situation.